Police blame gangs, lack of cooperation for uptick in violence

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Chicago police are blaming social media and the street code of silence for an uptick in violence since Jan. 1. (WLS)

Amid frustration over an uptick in shootings and murders in Chicago, the city's acting police superintendent is blaming the city's gangs and victims who refuse to cooperate.

There have been nearly two people shot and killed a day since Jan 1. Police say the majority of the violence is gang-related, driven by social media. Additionally, gun arrests are down. Police say both issues are not caused by recent events surrounding the department.

You can't blame the weather - there have been over 100 shootings in the City of Chicago since Jan. 1 - at least 22 shot and killed. That number is way up from this time last year.

Interim Chicago Police Supt. John Escalante admits that it's been a frustrating start. He says the street code of silence makes it difficult for detectives to do their jobs.

"We get little and often times no cooperation at all from our victims, those victims I am talking about have prior criminal history and known documented gang affiliations," Escalante said.

Escalante says, so far, this year they have dealt with hostile victims who often give police false information. He said it's an ongoing problem that is not the result of the current climate between the police and the community.

Father Michael Pfleger says it's a problem that has a long way to go before being fixed.

"The bridge between community and police is not broken, it's gone. That has to be rebuilt before you're going to get cooperation on either end," Pfleger said.

While shootings are way up, gun arrests and confiscations are way down this year.

The police union blames it on low morale and less aggressive policing as a result of the climate. Escalante says arrests are down because of a new state law that changes the way police keep track of street stops.

"I think we are going to see things pick up again once everyone is comfortable and familiar with the new law," Escalante said.

Escalante said officers are in the process of being trained about the new law.

This comes as at least eight people were shot, three fatally, since Wednesday morning.

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